I am a massive Trekkie. I grew up a Star Trek fan with the help of my dad, and one of my favorite characters growing up was Spock. I loved his sense of logic and reasoning, and as I got older, his control over emotions inspired me to work on controlling my own feelings. There is a quote I often use that is very applicable to the world we live in right now: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Along with many of you, I have seen on social media the protests happening across the country, demanding that local governments reopen states for business. As someone who is immunocompromised on account of my asthma, I take the threat of this virus very seriously. I know several people, including my mother and voice teacher, who have severely weakened immune systems due to cancer treatment. So to see people out protesting and disregarding the safety of others is incredibly frustrating. I understand their frustrations, but the protection of the health of individuals is far more important than any business or livelihood at this time.
I understand the frustration that people are having. This virus has had a massive impact on the lives of every person in this country. Lay-offs, graduation cancelations, and lack of jobs in the market are all causing tension and anxiety in the general public. But there is a far greater danger out there: this virus. It has been over 100 years, since the Spanish Flu outbreak, that we have seen a pandemic of such a massive magnitude. This is a serious virus that kills. There is no current vaccine or stable treatment. It is important to remember that these protests simply spread the virus. I have been dismayed to see that many of the protestors have been lacking facial masks or any spacing recommendations given by the CDC. This is alarming, as the virus spreads quickly from person to person. There is no job or service that has been closed currently that so desperately needs to be reopened. I see the posters that say “I need a haircut” or “I need a beer.” While certainly, I could use a nice haircut and would greatly enjoy time with friends, the health of everyone around me is far more important. In this case of the pandemic, I do believe it is the burden of the government to look out for the best interests of the people, even when the people cannot look out for their own best interests. This is not a desirable situation at all. I have been cooped up in my apartment for a month with extremely limited personal contact. But I would rather take the time to flatten the spread of the virus than making any rash decisions on preemptively opening states that will only get decimated to the second round of the virus.
There is still much you can do in your neighborhood. I have been pleased to see many services, such as Uber Eats, have created programs to help local businesses stay afloat during this crisis. Order take out from a favorite restaurant. Buy a gift certificate to later use at a family owned store. And most importantly, stay inside unless absolutely necessary. When you go to the market, wear a mask, regardless of if you’re sick or not. If everyone wore a mask right now, there is a 1.5% chance that the virus would spread from a sick to healthy person if both are wearing masks. Wash your hands frequently, and please do not use gloves. They carry germs wherever you go, and are only good for contact with one surface. There will be a day where this will end. And once it does, we will all have a greater appreciation for the things we take for granted. Until that day, stay at home, distance yourself, and stay safe.
Annie is a senior double-majoring in Environmental Studies and Heritage and Museum Studies, as well as minoring in German. She loves adventures, coffee, and dogs. This is her third year with the Concordian.